Less than two weeks ago, a statue created to honor the life of Breonna Taylor debuted in Oakland's Latham Square; it was promptly broken into pieces the day after Christmas by unknown vandals.
The police killing of Breonna Taylor continued to fuel civic unrest after a Kentucky grand jury decided to indict only one of the three Louisville Metro Police Department officers involved in the fatal shooting back in March. None of the men involved were indicted on murder charges; Brett Hankison — the now-terminated officer charged in the disturbance — was given three counts of "wanton endangerment" over shots fired into adjacent apartments; his bond was set at $15,000; an FBI ballistics team calculated that around 22 shots were fired from the group of on-site officers.
On Monday, December 21st there was a newly erected #SayHerName bust of Breonna Taylor in Downtown Oakland.— Amir Aziz (@aziaticblack) December 26, 2020
Today, the day after Christmas, it’s now destroyed.
Credit for the art is listed as Leo Carson / leo_carson_art on Instagram pic.twitter.com/jwu2H5A65s
Fast forward some months later, a sculpted bust of Taylor appeared in downtown Oakland by local artist Leon Carson — the piece of public art beckoning passerby to never stop "[saying] her name." And over the weekend, that in-memoriam figure was destroyed and left in pieces.
"This vandalism is an act of racist aggression, and it shows why sculpture and art matters," Carson says to KQED. "I made this sculpture to support the Black Lives Matter movement and while I'm overcome with rage and sadness at their cowardly act, their vandalism will make her even more potent."
KQED has since mentioned it’s not immediately clear who carried out the vandalism or how it was conducted. (Oaklandside, an East Bay nonprofit news outlet, first broke the news.)
A police report with the Oakland Police Department has, however, since been filed, and the department has said it's "aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honoring Breonna Taylor."
The destuction of the sculpted Breonna Taylor bust follows a string of defacements and vandalizations of Black Lives Matter-affiliated and Black empowerment murals in the Bay Area (and elsewhere in the country) that occured earlier in the year; the Oakland Police has now opened up an investigation into the wrecking of the Taylor statue.
Image: Twitter via @FeelmoreAdult